Random thoughts on torture

Originally posted Dec 18,2014

The recent Senate report on torture has brought the issue to the forefront of late. Once again people line up, mostly according to party affiliation. I see plenty of bull shit coming from both camps.

To begin, there’s nothing conservative about torturing people. And there’s nothing liberal about covering up these acts when they do occur.

Continue reading Random thoughts on torture

India lawmakers demand Modi speak on mass conversion to Hinduism

AP, December 22

New Delhi – Opposition lawmakers, charging that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has done little to stop hard-liners in his party from forcibly converting religious minorities to Hinduism, threw Parliament into an uproar Monday, with the upper house of Parliament adjourned after descending into shouting matches.

Right-wing Hindu groups allied to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party whose members are overwhelmingly BJP members have conducted a series of ceremonies across India over the past week to convert Christians and Muslims to Hinduism.
Continue reading India lawmakers demand Modi speak on mass conversion to Hinduism

Christmas in Lebanon

doesn’t look very cheerful this year.

Blue and white Christmas lights twinkle over the shops near my apartment in Beirut’s Christian quarter; pricy boutiques display elaborate nativity scenes. But people are having trouble getting into the festive mood. ‘Do you think the war will come here?’ asks my landlady nervously, not for the first time. There is no rush to battle, no electric charge in the air, just a rather depressed feeling among Lebanese that their country can no longer escape the violence over the border in Syria. The black flag of the so-called Islamic State has appeared after Friday prayers in some mosques in the north. The assumption is that Lebanon will be the next place the jihadis target. Still, there are reasons to hope.

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Ukraine Storm forecast over Cuba

In a new long range weather forecast designed to predict the spread of Neo-Imperialism from West to East, a severe new cell of potential Neo-Liberalism is being reported in the Caribbean, and is expected to make landfall on Cuba, so Batistering the Island Nation into a Neo-Liberal dream.

The Bateristing of this new Ukraine Storm is being fomented by US foreign Policy apparatchiks.

President Obama mentioned this new cell, caused by a secret gust of desire for the Oil off Cuba’s North West Coast; he averred that in such cases, the traditional American method of political weather forecasting, (simply denying there was any weather,) does not work.

The process is explained in this quote by President Obama:

After all, these 50 years have shown that isolation has not worked. It’s time for a new approach.

Nice idea. New approach to what objective, one asks?
Continue reading Ukraine Storm forecast over Cuba

Two Police Officers Are Killed by Ambush in Brooklyn; Suspect Is Found Dead

New York Times, By Benjamin Mueller & Al Baker, December 20

New York – Two police officers sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn were shot at point-blank range and killed on Saturday afternoon by a man who, officials said, had traveled to the city from Baltimore vowing to kill officers. The suspect then committed suicide with the same gun, the authorities said.

The officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, were in the patrol car near Myrtle and Tompkins Avenues in Bedford-Stuyvesant in the shadow of a tall housing project when the gunman, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, walked up to the passenger-side window and assumed a firing stance, Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said. He shot several rounds into the officers’ heads and upper bodies, the authorities said. They never drew their weapons.

Mr. Brinsley, 28, then fled down the street and onto the platform of a nearby subway station, where he killed himself as officers closed in. The police recovered a silver semiautomatic handgun from the station, Mr. Bratton said.
Continue reading Two Police Officers Are Killed by Ambush in Brooklyn; Suspect Is Found Dead

The New Robber Barons – Bill Moyers

Well…, I am sure I am not the only one who is going to miss Bill Moyers when he signs off his weekly PBS shows in the near future. I already miss Stephan Colbert. A couple of real class acts…, and this one from Bill is a dandy.

BILL MOYERS: Welcome. What happened in Washington over the past several days sent me back a century in time to the Gilded Age, when senators and representatives were owned by Wall Street and big business, and did the bidding of their monied masters by passing favorable laws that increased their already fabulous wealth. We’ve just watched the Senate and the House, aided and abetted by President Obama, reward financial interests that poured almost half a billion dollars into the midterm elections. They did it by slipping into the omnibus spending bill, signed this week by the President, a provision permitting Wall Street to resume the predatory practice of making risky bets with our deposits and sticking us the taxpayers with the bill if the gambles fail. And guess what? That provision was drafted by lobbyists for the huge banking conglomerate Citigroup. Lo and behold, the Citigroup language turns up in the final bill almost word for word.

What’s more, Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress, again with a wink from the President, sealed the grip of plutocrats on our political process with yet another provision tucked away in the same bill. It allows big donors to contribute up to one and a half million dollars to political party committees in a single election cycle. As one of the robber barons of the first Gilded Age exclaimed, “…we are the rich; we own America; we got it, God knows how, but we intend to keep it…”

Weekend Jukebox: “Guilty Pleasure” Songs for Christmas

You’ve heard Chuck, you’ve heard Keith, but have you seen Sheryl Crow’s
Run, Rudolf, Run- with big hair (Sheryl, not the raindeer) and a mean guitar ? ……

Or post whatever’s spinning in your head right now.

More:
Alison Krauss and Yo-Yo Ma: Wexford Carol “first take”.

U.S. delays release of study on 1953 Iran coup

AP, December 19

The State Department is delaying the release of a volume from its U.S. foreign relations history that deals with the CIA-backed overthrow of an Iranian prime minister in the 1950s out of concern that publication could undermine nuclear diplomacy with the Islamic republic.

The decision was made at a September meeting of the department’s advisory committee on historical diplomatic documentation and recorded in minutes released this week. The foreign relations records aren’t supposed to be suppressed for longer than three decades.

Stephen Randolph, the department’s historian, informed the gathering that the volume on U.S. policy in Iran would be withheld “because of ongoing negotiations with Iran.” Richard Immerman, a Temple University professor who chairs the committee, expressed frustration with the decision. The delay was first reported by online publication Secrecy News.

Friday Catblogging: Blogcats look at us

“Daisy” of the “Daisy the Curly Cat” blog archives from a few years ago

I used to love the pics but skip the interior monologue … :-)


Continue reading Friday Catblogging: Blogcats look at us

India Takes First Step to Sending Astronaut to Space

The Wall Street Journal, December 18

It’s been a pretty amazing year for India’s space agency: reaching Mars orbit at first attempt and on a tight budget then clubbing together with the United States for future explorations of the Red planet. On Thursday morning the Indian Space Research Organization wrapped up 2014 with the successful launch of a rocket that will help it discover if it has the capacity to put an Indian astronaut into space, and bring them home again.

The rocket that lifted off from southern India at 09:32 Indian Standard Time carried an un-manned crew capsule that scientists wanted to ensure could re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere without burning up.

The so-called crew-module atmospheric re-entry experiment is part of India’s plan to send a person into space within the next eight years. The capsule separated from the rocket successfully at 126 kilometers above the Earth’s surface and re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere as hoped and deploying parachutes. It was expected to land in the Bay of Bengal and be recovered by the Indian Coast Guard.

Obama announces U.S. to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba

(Reuters) – President Barack Obama announced the United States would restore diplomatic relations it severed with Cuba more than 50 years ago, drawing resistance from lawmakers opposed to reconciling with the communist-run island.

After 18 months of secret talks facilitated by the Vatican and Canada, Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro agreed by phone on Tuesday on a prisoner exchange and the opening of embassies in each other’s countries.

Police Power vs Police Ignorance

Sometimes a simple compare-and-contrast says a lot.

Re: Police Respond to NFL Player Protest Over the Shooting of Tamir Rice (Channel 5 News/Cleveland)

In a statement to Cleveland WEWS-Channel 5, CPPU President Jeff Follmer demanded an apology from the Browns. Follmer also called Hawkins’ actions pathetic.

“It’s pretty pathetic when athletes think they know the law,” Follmer said. “They should stick to what they know best on the field. The Cleveland Police protect and serve the Browns stadium and the Browns organization owes us an apology.”

The Roberts Court re: The Legality of Cops being Ignorant of the Law (Raw Story)

The case concerned the 2009 arrest of Nicholas Heien near Dobson, North Carolina. Sgt. Matt Darisse pulled Heien over for having only one working brake light, then found a bag of cocaine while searching his vehicle and charged him with attempted drug trafficking. However, the state only requires motorists to have one brake light working at any time. Heien’s attorneys argued that this made Darisse’s search unlawful.

Roberts wrote that the ruling “does not discourage officers from learning the law,” because the Fourth Amendment only covers “objectively reasonable” errors from police.

During the past weeks, we have heard a lot about Grand Jury procedure and the “latitude” our legal system affords police and prosecutors.  That latitude apparently now includes their ignorance, but not ours.

Latitude in fire-power.

Latitude in discerning a threat to themselves.

Latitude in being granted the benefit of any doubt.

Now, latitude for not knowing the law they enforce.

UPDATE:

I ran across this little item today which describes the latitude of judges to decide if you own anything of value you are not entitled to a court appointed attorney (because you can always hock anything of value).

http://talkpoverty.org/2014/12/15/need-lawyer-sell-everything/

 

$1 Trillion At “Unambiguous” Risk As A Result Of Crude Crash

ZeroHedge – The belief… that the crashing price of oil is so “unambiguously, unquestionably, undisputably” good for the US is so taken for granted, that nobody actually checked the facts.

So here is one such attempt by the FT, which writes that “almost $1 trillion of spending on future oil projects is at risk as a result of the plunge in crude to $60.”
more at the link

Is Obama an American Fascist?

Is the United States fascist? Is it becoming a Fascist state?

Such accusation are freely offered, and thrown around, often without the discussion of the full meaning of Fascism. We need to start with a definition, because the term ‘fascist’ is often misused, leading to confusion. Here’s what George Orwell said, in 1944:

…the word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley’s broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else … Except for the relatively small number of Fascist sympathizers, almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist’. That is about as near to a definition as this much-abused word has come.

Continue reading Is Obama an American Fascist?

13 Hostages Taken In Sydney Financial District Coffee Shop, Jihadists Suspected – Live Feed

ZeroHedge-Only weeks after Australia broke up a plan by ISIS to publicly behead a member of public, reports suggest 2 gunmen are holding 13 hostages at a Lindt coffee-shop in Sydney, Australia. The terrorists have shown a black jihadist flag – which is not an IS flag – and has paraded the hostages at the windows. The coffee shop is directly across the street from the Reserve Bank of Australia.

Reuters – Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who has warned of militant plans to attack Australian targets, said he was convening a meeting of the cabinet’s national security committee for a briefing on the hostage situation at the Lindt Cafe in the country’s commercial capital. “Police are dealing with an armed incident and specialist officers are attempting to make contact (with) those inside a cafe,” New South Wales Police said in a statement.

Update- 12/15 BBC The (single) gunman holding people hostage in a Sydney cafe has been identified as an Iranian refugee who was on bail facing a number of charges. Police have stormed the building. Unconfirmed reports say the gunman has been shot and killed and some of the hostages have been seriously wounded. Police confirm Sydney siege is over.

(I don’t think we’ll have to wait long for this to become fodder for the ‘Don’t let in refugees” folk. WTF with this guy?)

Over and out to Graham…

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